One Of A Kind Ural Gzhel Motorcycle Auction
By James Grahame
The Gzhel is a unique Russian-made Ural Tourist motorcycle hand painted in traditional 14th century pottery style by Svetlana Zyryanova. By day, Svetlana toils in the factory's paint department where she's often responsible for less awe-inspiring camouflage patterns. However, she's spends her spare time as an artist. This obsession led her to spend hundreds of hours hand painting a special Ural Tourist in the traditional Gzhel folk art style.
This meticulously decorated machine is roadworthy, too; the body is clear coated for protection from rocks and stray bullets. Ural's Madina Merzhoyeva tells us that, "Since 2005 a lot of changes have been made to bring the quality and functionality of a Ural up to the modern standard, while keeping untouched (almost) its retro look."
Even back in the late 1930s, BMW made great motorcycles. In fact, they were decidedly better than those the Soviets had to suffer with. In a moment of strategic stupidity, the Germans gave blueprints and casting molds for BMW's out-dated R71 motorcycle to the Russians. Over the course of WWII, thousands of these bikes were manufactured for the Red Army.
By the 1950s, the Irbit Motorcycle Works was producing Ural motorbikes for civilian use. They survived the breakup of the Soviet Union, and now operate as a privately held company. You can buy one new in North America or Europe quite easily for around $10,000.
As for the Gzhel, this one of a kind machine will be auctioned on eBay, starting at noon on April 3, 2009. The motorcycle will be delivered to the dealership closest to the winning bidder, who will also receive a bottle of Gzhel vodka with at least some of the contents remaining. A portion of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Irbit Children's School of the Arts.